Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Here I am at the company picnic last year. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 25, 2005

No ride - it was raining. But here's a picture of me!

Blogspot has a new image hosting service that I'm checking out so I may have a bunch of photos to post one of these days in some kind of photo album. Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Diablo Junction - 16 miles

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure for diabetes! I’m doing the 100 mile ride in Napa on May 1. Click here: http://tinyurl.com/65tzt
Third Wednesday night ride of the year and not many people showed up. Me, Adam, and Nicole. Mark P and Robin had started up earlier.

So I started up by myself and didn’t see anyone ahead until well past Moss Landing where I spotted a guy about two minutes ahead. I made it my goal to catch him but he was going almost as fast as I was so it was a slow catch. Near the bottom of the Bump I figured I had him but there were two more guys behind me. Just as I was getting ready to pass him, he got off his bike! In the middle of the road!

Wildlife Encounter: A big snake – 4 or 5 footer. The guy ahead of me had stopped to escort Mr. Snake off the road safely.

I went around him and we decided it wasn’t a rattler. I came across a pickup coming down and warned them – I was rather surprised that the driver seemed concerned for the snake as well.

Now the two guys behind me were getting closer – I figured one of them was Adam and he’d catch me pretty soon, but another guy didn’t seem to be gaining on me so now I was the rabbit and not the dog.

Adam came by pretty quickly but I managed to hold off the other guy by secretly sprinting around blind corners so he would get discouraged at how big the gap was getting.

Junction time: 39m15s – excellent!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Diablo Summit 33 miles

Arthur Mijares, an anti-satanist from Oakley has petitioned the USGS to change Mount Diablo’s name because he finds it “derogatory and profane”. Mt. Kawukum is his suggestion for a new name. LINK1 scroll down to page 6 for the petition, LINK2 for a news article about it. I would call Mr. Mijares a dumbass but that might be libelous, so instead I’ll say this is a dumbass idea… that should be safe.

Today’s plan was for Rick and Nicole and their 5 year old son to ride up from Dublin and meet us at the café. They have a trailer cycle and their baby sitting plans fell through so this was their only way to get a ride in.

So it was just me and JB this morning, we waited a little bit for Peter but didn’t see him. There was a guy on an OCLV and in a Discovery jersey (first time I’ve seen one of those on the mountain) who was waiting for another buddy but JB and I left before they did. It was pretty chilly at the bottom, we both had leg warmers and arm warmers and he even packed his rain jacket.

Things started out briskly for a good conditioning pace. We both tested each other a little bit but I figured my chances were pretty good if I could hold things together for a sprint. I stayed glued to his wheel when he picked up the pace with a mile to go. He started trying to shake me at Chainbuster and he has some good speed but not much of a jump so his accelerations never opened up enough of a gap to get rid of me. I didn’t want to come around too early so I waited until only 50 meters to go and then I burned my whole book of matches and my plan came together perfectly. Gotta remember to play my strong suit in these things. Junction time: 42 minutes.

From the Junction on up things started to get warmer. The Discovery guy and his buddy had arrived and started up just before us but weren’t too much faster. Ranger scuttlebutt is that Summit Road will be repaved soon, and they may close the entire section to all traffic while they’re doing it so it won’t take so long. I think that unlikely as I’ve seen several repaving operations and they always did one lane at a time with traffic controls, but we’ll see. At Juniper I stopped to take off my arm and leg warmers because I was getting hot. The bugs were bad everywhere today, but up near the radio antennas there was a thick cloud of gnats that was like riding through a sandblaster – they’d smack into your helmet and get stuck in your arm hair and it was hard to breathe without sucking some in – yuck! There was also a foot race going on so those poor buggers had to deal with it too. JB beat me to the Upper Parking Lot by a couple minutes – my time: 83 minutes.

I called Rick’s cell phone and they were at Rudgear so it looked like the timing would be perfect for a meet-up at the café. Lots of riders were at the Summit and lots more coming up on the way down; road cycling has never been more popular around here. Rick and family arrived at the café just minutes before JB and me so today’s plan was perfect all around.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Diablo Junction - 16 miles

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Second Wednesday night ride of the year and we had a much bigger turnout than last week. New guy Mark, who is the husband of a work colleague showed up; he is an obviously skilled cyclist who’s been off the bike for a while (this was his first ride in 2 years!) so he lacks some fitness. Jeff, who is mostly recovered from a back injury and riding his new orange and black CF Orbea. Robin, who was just plain busy last week, on her new blue Cannondale (both Robin and Jeff made the jump from triple to double chainrings this year). Adam, who rode home from the office, rode up South Gate, and down North Gate to meet us at 5:30. Me, JB, and Brian, the fast triathlete that started riding with us last week.

Mark didn’t know any of us – his wife just told him about our corporate Tour de Cure team and that these Wednesday night rides were like training sessions so when he saw me getting into my car with my bike on the roof he came over and introduced himself. He followed me to Doncaster and we unloaded. Robin drove up a little later so the three of us started together. JB and Adam had a little bit of a head start and we rode by Nicole who was a little behind. Jeff and Brian weren’t there yet; one of these days we’ll have a mass start event.

From the Gate, Robin set a fast pace and I held back to stay with Mark. (I’m going to have to call him Mark P, or invent a nickname for him so he doesn’t get confused with Mark A). After a bit though he found his form and we caught up with her and passed her – she said she was missing her granny gear but was determined to become a power rider. Good on her!

We could see JB and Adam a couple hundred meters ahead, and at the bottom of the Bump I left Mark P to bridge up to them. JB said he wasn’t feeling too well so at that point Adam and I went on ahead together and JB drifted back. We kept up a pretty good pace after that and passed a few more people. At the Junction, Adam sprinted to the line and beat me by about 3 dozen bike lengths – whew, that was exciting! My Junction time was 40m22s so that was exceptional given what I thought was a pretty easy pace.

We all eventually re-grouped in the parking lot and socialized a bit before the cold ride back down. There were a couple of ladies in their car though that had just come down from the Summit and their brakes were smoking! They asked Adam and me if we knew anything about cars and we explained how to use 2nd gear and how to keep their brakes cool for the rest of the way down. They were grateful because they had no idea what they were doing wrong or even if something was maybe wrong with their automobile!

Wildlife Encounter:
A familiar-looking raccoon hoping for a piece of PowerBar.

There was also a ranger there that asked if any of us knew about a bike to bike collision that happened sometime Saturday – apparently there was talk about it but no incident report and the ranger wanted it to be official for record-keeping purposes. If any of my readers knows anything about this please pass it along!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Diablo Junction - 16 miles

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure for diabetes! I’m doing the 100 mile ride in Napa on May 1. Click here

First Wednesday night ride of the year and I was ready! Watching all the recent Euro races on OLN has really been getting me in the mood for more aggressive riding on the Mountain. Jeff at work passed out our new Team BC jerseys and shorts for the Tour de Cure so there were a bunch of us with matching kit.

Cindy started up before us, but Adam, JB, Rick, Nicole, and I got going just after 5:30. Rick won’t be a regular since he works in Oakland but it was nice having him for the season opener. Also a new guy Brian would be coming a little later.

It was quick from the gun, the four guys rode some good tempo but not too hard. On the Bump I did my regular routine of pounding up in a big gear (39x19) as sort of a power interval. Usually everybody catches up to me while I’m recovering from that effort but today no one wanted to close the gap. I slowed way down but JB and Adam decided to let me hang out there by myself so I got back into my groove and just rode my own speed. Rick started to drift off the back a little at this point. Coming around the Upper Washout I saw a flattened rattle snake and there was also a hang-glider (the parachute kind) floating around in the sky. It was a nice afternoon to ride. Saw lots of riders coming down but there didn’t appear to be a big club ride all together.

With two miles to go I was at 25m18s so I figured I would just break 40 and that would be a good ride. JB and Adam finally caught me near Big Shady Oak and JB rode right by. Adam stayed with me and tried to pull me up, but JB was wanted the win today and he didn’t slack at all. My Junction time was 38m30s (all right!) and he was about 15 seconds faster.

Cindy was at the Junction and we all connected, then she went down while we waited for Nicole. Finally Brian came in, he said he did 44 minutes from Alvarado Park, thinking that was about a 40 minute ride from the Gate (I think it must have been faster than that!). Brian’s a triathlete and has been training hard and says he’s improved a lot since last year. He also had a cool GPS watch thing with more functions than you could ever want.

OK guys and gals – so far I have $0 in my Tour de Cure sponsorship page… what do I have to do? Please click my link at the top of this entry… thanks.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Diablo Junction plus South Gate Road and Danville Blvd – 40 miles

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure for diabetes! I’m doing the 100 mile ride in Napa on May 1. Click here

I was feeling pretty good today. JB has been running during the week and saying that his legs hurt so I figured he might not be too fast on the bike. Rick and Peter came along to make four of us. Nicole is training for Seattle to Portland by riding flat miles – the plan was for her to ride from home and meet us at the coffee shop in Encina Plaza.

We started off at a pretty quick pace right away. Peter and JB seemed to be the most interested in speed. When we got to the Bump things broke up a little bit with Rick starting to fade first. Then I let a gap open up and JB pulled ahead of Peter. I rejoined the front group near the Upper Wash Out and then JB started to fade so it was just me and Peter for a while. Then Peter opened up a gap and that’s how we finished – Peter, then me about a minute down, then JB another minute down, then Rick. My time was 41m30s so we’re getting into the competitive range again. Peter said he thought he might be sorry he rode North Gate so fast.

I put a new Ultegra chain on my bike last night and got the shifting to work flawlessly once more. Just over 2,000 miles on the last one (a SRAM 89R). I guess I only get 1,500 miles on a chain before it starts skipping and I have to live with that. Anyway, it felt good to know that I got the problem fixed finally.

There was a guy at the Junction with a Klein Mantra that had been modified for electric wheels – looked quite odd and I didn’t ask him about it but I did overhear him tell someone else that he rode from the Gate to Diablo Ranch before he had to pedal. I don’t get it.

Rick called Nicole and we firmed up plans to try and catch her on the Iron Horse Trail so pretty soon we all went down South Gate. Starting on Blackhawk Road, Rick and I started hammering and we were making JB and Peter hurt. By the time we got to Danville Blvd I was the only one pulling and was doing 25 to 27 mph. JB recovered and rode well, but Peter was in pain.

Nicole beat us to the coffee shop but I couldn’t stay so I just checked out her new Cane Creek wheels and headed home.